Tag Archives: Muhammad Ali

Fathers Day Worthy Of Praise

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In the beginning, so we are told, God created man and a woman, in that order, known as the natural order of life designed to continue the species of mankind. According to God’s design and the natural order of the universe, it is necessary for the male of the species to deliver a seed into the womb of a fertile woman to create a human life.

Whereby, for good or bad, the institution of marriage was formed to raise the new life, which is the child. In today’s society, in spite all of the religious teaching, somehow people have lost sight of a very basic principle that is – the only reason we exist is to continue the species through what we call family.

I was thinking about something someone posted on a social media that said, “Happy Father’s Day the other Mothers Day”. I commented on the post – “Really!” To which the woman’s response was “yes, I am my children’s father.” Hmmmm! I thought, Really! Don’t misunderstand me, I do understand there is and always have been “single mothers” raising children alone. It has always been and more than like always will. Although situations do require a mother to raise her child along, it does not make her at father! No disrespect ladies, but you cannot be a man on any level nor know the dynamics of being a man.

Fatherhood is the most important position in all of creation! I listen to a lot of non-sense about many things but father’s are necessary.  A father determines the sex of a child through a sperm cell which either contains an X chromosome (female), or Y chromosome (male) supplied usually through sexual intercourse. There is no debate there. However, because two people engage in said act does not necessarily make either responsible parents. Anyone can make a baby, but everyone cannot be a parent. Just as it is with ever rule in nature, the responsibility of parents is derived based on the decisions these two people make.

Regardless of the related terms such as dad, daddy, pa, papa, poppa, pop, pop and so on. All identify the man as a male role-model that children can look up to, sometimes referred to as a father-figure. Traditionally, fathers act in a protective, supportive and responsible for the children they create. Involved fathers offer developmentally specific provisions to their sons and daughters throughout the life cycle and are impacted themselves by doing so. This is an important role of the father who is viewed as the leader with regard to his parental role and critical to the well-rounded development of the offspring.

Active father figures play a role in reducing behavior and psychological problems in young men and women. An increased amount of father–child involvement may help increase a child’s social stability, educational achievement, and their potential to have a solid marriage as an adult. Their children may also be more curious about the world around them and develop greater problem solving skills. Children who were raised with fathers perceive themselves to be more cognitively and physically competent than their peers without a father. Mothers raising children together with a father reported less severe disputes with their child.

I hear women say all the time that there are no good men. Well, they were good enough to make a baby with you. The question then becomes why is this perceived? Could it be as simply as YOU! This is real talk: there are plenty of real and good men. It is as simple as the choice you make.

So why has the game changed? In today’s society, gay marriage has people of the same sex raising children, government intervention, prison, and some suggest these issues as the moral breakdown of the family, as possible reasons. I am not smart enough to know the answer. However, what I know “man” has no business nor can he change the laws of nature.

So if you are lucky enough to have a father or is a father; cherish every moment of the very special privilege!  Therefore, to all Father on this day; HAPPY FATHERS DAY and keep up the good work! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Remembering: Muhammad Ali

The Greatest of All Times

thMuhammad Ali, known as the greatest boxer of all times and viewed by most as the “Champ,” retired as the first three-time Heavyweight Champion of the World. He was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., the elder of two boys in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 17, 1942. He was named after his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr., who was named after the 19th-century abolitionist and politician, the owner of Clay’s ancestors. Ali changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam in 1964.

Clay was directed toward boxing by a white Louisville police officer whom he encountered as a 12-year-old fuming over the theft of his bicycle. After an extremely successful amateur boxing career, he won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Ali said in his 1975 autobiography that he threw his Olympic gold medal into the Ohio River after being refused service at a “whites-only” restaurant.

Not only was the Champ a fighter in the ring, but he also had the courage to fight the U.S. Government in 1967 when he refused to be inducted into the U.S. military based on his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. He was arrested and found guilty on draft evasion charges, stripped of his boxing title, and his boxing license was suspended. He was not imprisoned but did not fight again for nearly four years while his appeal worked its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was successful.

Standing tall at 6 feet, 3 inches, Clay had a highly unorthodox style for a heavyweight boxer. Rather than the normal style of carrying the hands high to defend the face, he instead relied on foot speed and quickness to avoid punches and carried his hands low. He coined a new technique called the rope-a-dope where he rested on the ring ropes and let the dope, his opponent, punch himself out. He was also known for his pre-match hype, where he would “trash talk” opponents on television and in person before the match and often with rhymes.

These personality quips and idioms, along with an unorthodox fighting technique, made him a cultural icon. Ali built a reputation by correctly predicting, with stunning accuracy, the round in which he would “finish” an opponent. While still Cassius Clay, he adopted the latter practice from “Gorgeous” George Wagner, a popular professional wrestling champion who drew thousands of fans. Often referred to as “the man you loved to hate,” George could incite the crowd with a few heated remarks, which Ali used to his advantage.

As Clay, he met his famous longtime trainer Angelo Dundee during a light heavyweight fight in Louisville shortly after becoming the top contender to fight Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston. Despite his impressive record, he was not widely expected to defeat Liston, who was considered a more sinister champion than Iron Mike Tyson. In fact, nobody gave him a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the fight against such a dominant champion.

The fight was scheduled for February 25, 1964, in Miami, Florida, but it almost never happened because the promoter heard that Clay had been seen around Miami and in other cities with the controversial Muslim Leader, Malcolm X. The promoters perceived this association as a potential gate killer to the fight where Liston was overwhelmingly favored to win. However, it was Clay’s colorful persona and nonstop braggadocio that gave the fight its sole appeal.

The ever-boastful Clay frequently taunted Liston during the buildup to the bout by dubbing him “the big ugly bear” among other things. During the weigh-in on the day before the bout, acting like a wild crazy man, Clay declared for the first time that he would “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” He summarized his strategy for avoiding Liston’s assaults this way: “Your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see.”

By the third round, Clay was ahead on points and had opened a cut under Liston’s eye. Liston regained some ground in the fourth, as Clay was blinded by a substance in his eyes. It is unconfirmed whether this was something used to close Liston’s cuts or deliberately applied to Liston’s gloves. What is clear, boxing historians and insiders have recalled, is that in at least two other Liston fights a similar situation occurred, suggesting the possibility that the Liston corner deliberately attempted to cheat.

By the sixth, Clay dominated Liston and was looking for a finish. Then Liston shocked the boxing world when he failed to answer the bell for the seventh round, claiming his shoulder was injured. At the end of the fight, Clay boasted to the press that doubted him before the match, proclaiming, “I shook up the world!” When Clay beat Liston at age 22, he became the youngest boxer ever to take the title from a reigning heavyweight champion, a mark that stood until the Mike Tyson’s reign began.

What is significant about Clay winning the bout is this: he said, “I am pretty, I can’t be beat” as he yelled into the cameras for the world to see. In the early sixties, this was not the language Negro’s were using to describe themselves. Those words and that brash act was the catalyst for the black is beautiful movement, Afro-American, and black power. So from that perspective, yes, he shook up the world.

After winning the championship, Clay revealed that he was a member of the Nation of Islam. It was the movement’s leader Elijah Muhammad who gave Clay the name Cassius X, discarding his surname as a symbol of his ancestors’ enslavement, as had been done by other Nation members. On Friday, March 6, 1964, Malcolm X took Clay on a tour of the United Nations building where he announced that Clay would be granted his “X.” That same night, Elijah Muhammad recorded a statement over the phone to be played over the radio that Clay would be renamed Muhammad – one who is worthy of praise, and Ali – rightly guided.

The rematch with Liston was held in May 1965 in Lewiston, Maine. Ali, who had changed his name by this time, won by knockout in the first round as a result of what came to be called the “phantom punch.” Many believe that Liston, possibly as a result of threats from Nation of Islam extremists or in an attempt to “throw” the fight to pay off debts, waited to be counted out. However, most historians discount both scenarios and insist that it was a quick, chopping punch to the side of the head that legitimately fell Liston. Ali would later call the punch an “anchor punch” used by the Great Jack Johnson.

Aligning himself with the Nation of Islam made him a lightning rod for controversy, turning the outspoken but popular champion into one of that era’s most recognizable and controversial figures. Appearing at rallies with Elijah Muhammad and declaring his allegiance to him at a time when mainstream America viewed Black Muslims with suspicion and outright hostility made Ali a target of outrage, as well as suspicion. Ali seemed at times to provoke such reactions with viewpoints that wavered from support for civil rights to outright support of separatism.

For example, Ali once made this comment in relation to integration: “We who follow the teachings of Elijah Muhammad don’t want to be forced to integrate. Integration is wrong. We don’t want to live with the white man; that’s all.” Or this remark about inter-racial marriage: “No intelligent black man or black woman in his or her right black mind wants white boys and white girls coming to their homes to marry their black sons and daughters.” It was clear that his religious beliefs at the time included the notion that the white man was “the devil” and that white people were not “righteous.” Ali would also make claims that white people hated black people.

In early 1966, Ali was reclassified to be eligible for the draft and induction into the U.S. Army during a time when the United States was involved in the Vietnam War. When notified of this status, he declared that he would refuse to serve in the Army and publicly considered himself a conscientious objector. Ali believed “War is against the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. I’m not trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger. We don’t take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers.”

Ali also famously said, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them, Viet Cong … They never called me Nigger.” It was rare for a heavyweight boxing champion in those days, or now, to speak at Howard University where he gave his popular “Black Is Best” speech in 1996. Ali was invited to speak by Howard’s sociology professor Nathan Hare on behalf of the Black Power Committee, a student protest group. The event of 4,000 cheering students and community intellectuals was surely another step toward his iconic stature.

Appearing shortly thereafter for his scheduled induction into the U.S. Armed Forces on April 28, 1967, in Houston, he refused three times to step forward at the call of his name. An officer warned him he was committing a felony punishable by five years in prison and a fine of $10,000. Once more, Ali refused to budge when his name was called. As a result, he was arrested and on the same day the New York State Athletic Commission suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title as did other boxing commissions, for being unpatriotic.

At Ali’s trial, after only 21 minutes of deliberation, the jury found Ali guilty; the Court of Appeals upheld the conviction; the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. During this time, the public began turning against the war and support for Ali began to grow. Ali supported himself by speaking at colleges and universities across the country, where opposition to the war was especially strong. On June 28, 1971, the Supreme Court reversed by unanimous decision his conviction for refusing induction. The decision was not based on, nor did it address the merits of Clay’s/Ali’s claims per se; rather, the government’s failure to specify which claims were rejected and which were sustained constituted the grounds upon which the Court reversed the conviction.

The legacy of the “Greatest” is the stuff movies are made of – Muhammad Ali defeated every top heavyweight in his era, which has been called the golden age of heavyweight boxing. Ali was named “Fighter of the Year” by Ring Magazine more times than any other fighter and was involved in more Ring Magazine “Fight of the Year” bouts than any other fighter. He is an inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and holds wins over seven other Hall of Fame inductees.

He is also one of only three boxers to be named “Sportsman of the Year” by Sports Illustrated. In 1993, the Associated Press reported that Ali was tied with Babe Ruth as one of the most recognized athletes, out of over 800 dead or alive athletes, in America.

I have met Muhammad and was so impressed I named my only son after him, hoping his example of courage and fortitude would be shared. He is my hero, and I say: thank you for your example and sacrifice. You are the Greatest of All Times. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…..

Black History is American History


Patti LaBelle

1-As I thought about a woman to give great praise and highlight during this month dedicated to great women and their achievements. My choice was Patricia Edwards better known to the world as Patti LaBelle or to those who love her as “Miss Patti”. She is renowned as a Grammy Award winning recording artist, author, and actress with over 50 years in the music industry. Miss Patti spent 16 years as lead singer of Patti Labelle and the Bluebells a group that changed their name to “Labelle” in the early 1970s and released the iconic song “Lady Marmalade”.

She started a solo career shortly after the group disbanded in 1977 becoming an established crossover success with “On My Own”, “If You Asked Me To”, “Stir It Up”, and the hit “New Attitude”. She has also recorded huge R&B ballads; “You Are My Friend”, “If Only You Knew”, and “Love, Need and Want You”.

Miss Patti possesses the vocal range far greater than any soprano. Her musical legacy and influence, she has rewarded her with inductions into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Apollo Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. The World Music Awards presented her with the prestigious Legend Award. She has sold over 50 million records worldwide.

She released her self-titled album in 1977 to critical success, with the highlights being the dance singles “Joy To Have Your Love” and “Dan Swit Me”, and the pop-R&B ballad “You are My Friend”, a song she and her husband co‑wrote. Her subsequent follow-ups, however, 1978s “Tasty”, 1979s “It’s Alright with Me”, and 1980s “released”, failed to be as successful. Though well-established in some circles, LaBelle never followed her live performance success with hit records, which was often the case with the Bluebelles. In 1981, she was switched to Philadelphia International Records.

Miss Patti found success outside of music, performing on Broadway, TV, and movies. Her first film role was “A Soldier’s Story” and later issued for the soundtrack of Beverly Hills Cop. She garnered headlines in 1985 for her show-stopping performances, first at Motown Returns to the Apollo where she opened the show with Joe Cocker singing “You Are So Beautiful” where she received high praise. In the same show, she engaged in the so-called “infamous mic toss” between her and Dianna Ross during the show’s finale “I Want to Know What Love Is”. In fact, most views thought she stole the show.

A longtime resident of Philadelphia married Armstead Edwards, who had one child and tow adopted boys who were the children of their next-door neighbor after their mother died of cancer. Following the death of her youngest sister Jackie Padgett, the couple raised Padgett’s teenage children. In 2000, the couple announced their separation. Their divorce was finalized in 2003.

As lead singer of the legendary group Labelle, Patti LaBelle has been called one of the pioneers of the disco movement due to singles such as “Lady Marmalade” and “Messin’ With My Mind”. In turn, “Lady Marmalade” has been also called one of the first mainstream disco hits. Rolling Stones Magazine includes LaBelle in its 100 Greatest Singers List, citing her as an influencing factor to “generations of soul singers” including Luther Vandross, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige and Christina Aguilera.Other singers who have been inspired by Patti LaBelle are Ashford & Simpson, Celine Dion, Donna Summer, Jennifer Hudson, Jody Watley, Macy Gray, Mariah Carey, Martha Wash, Paula Abdul, Fantasia Barrino, Whitney Houston, and Ariana Grande as well as Oleta Adams, and Regina Belle.

I could go on for days praising this woman for her longevity and accomplishments but space does not allow it. But, if you have ever seen this show-stopping songstress, I am sure you will agree. As the old adage says, she is one in a million, rather I would say she is one who only appears once in a lifetime. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Aftermath Of Integration

1I recently had a conversation with a group of young people, none of which lived during the age of government segregation. Each had strongly convoluted opinions about the era that were not based in fact. This made me think about how much the current world view has changed the reality of black life, as it relates to a historical perspective.

First, white folk never wanted it and chatted go back to Africa at the time. It was never intended to be fair or equal! I am not suggesting that integration should not have happened, but it did have a negative impact on black life and the future of African Americans in many ways. Two prominent ways were in the areas of family and black business.

One thing that happened, for sure was that the black community stopped supporting the businesses in their own communities. After segregation, African Americans flocked to support businesses owned by whites and other groups, causing black restaurants, theaters, insurance companies, banks, etc. to almost disappear. Today, black people spend 95 percent of their income at white-owned businesses. Even though the number of black firms has grown 60.5 percent between 2002 and 2007, they only make up 7 percent of all U.S firms and less than .005 percent of all U.S business receipts.

I took the opportunity to educate these young people that in 1865, just after Emancipation, 476,748 free blacks – 1.5 percent of U.S. population– owned .005 percent of the total wealth of the United States. Today, a full 135 years after the abolition of slavery, 44.5 million African Americans – 14.2 percent of the population — possess a meager 1 percent of the national wealth.

If we look at relationships from 1890 to 1950, black women married at higher rates than white women, despite a consistent shortage of black males due to their higher mortality rate. According to a report released by the Washington DC-based think tank the Urban Institute, the state of the African American family is worse today than it was in the 1960s, four years before President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act.

In 1965, only 8 percent of childbirths in the black community occurred out of wedlock. In 2010, out-of-wedlock childbirths in the black community are at an astonishing 72 percent. Researchers Heather Ross and Isabel Sawhill argue that the marital stability is directly related to the husband’s relative socio-economic standing and the size of the earnings difference between men and women.

Instead of focusing on maintaining black male employment to allow them to provide for their families, Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act with full affirmative action for women. The act benefited mostly white women and created a welfare system that encouraged the removal of the black male from the home. Many black men were also dislodged from their families and pushed into the rapidly expanding prison industrial complex that developed in the wake of rising unemployment.

Since integration, the unemployment rate of black men has been spiraling out of control. In 1954, white men had a zero percent unemployment rate, while African-American men experienced a 4 percent rate. By 2010, it was at 16.7 percent for Black men compared to 7.7 percent for white men. The workforce in 1954 was 79 percent African American. By 2011, that number had decreased to 57 percent. The number of employed black women, however, has increased. In 1954, 43 percent of African American women had jobs. By 2011, 54 percent of black women are job holders.

The Civil Rights Movement pushed for laws that would create a colorblind society, where people would not be restricted from access to education, jobs, voting, travel, public accommodations, or housing because of race. However, the legislation did nothing to eradicate white privilege. Michael K. Brown, professor of politics at University of California Santa Cruz, and co-author of“Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society” says in the U.S., “The color of one’s skin still determines success or failure, poverty or affluence, illness or health, prison or college.”

Two percent of all working African Americans work for another African American’s within their own neighborhood. Because of this, professionally trained Black people provide very little economic benefit to the black community. Whereas, prior to integration that number was significantly higher because of segregation people in the black community supported each other to sustain their lives and families.

The Black median household income is about 64 percent that of whites, while the Black median wealth is about 16 percent that of whites. Millions of Black children are being miseducated by people who don’t care about them, and they are unable to compete academically with their peers. At the same time, the criminal justice system has declared war on young Black men with policies such as “stop and frisk” and “three strikes.”

Marcus Garvey warned about this saying:

“Lagging behind in the van of civilization will not prove our higher abilities. Being subservient to the will and caprice of progressive races will not prove anything superior in us. Being satisfied to drink of the dregs from the cup of human progress will not demonstrate our fitness as a people to exist alongside of others, but when of our own initiative we strike out to build industries, governments, and ultimately empires, then and only then will we as a race prove to our Creator and to man in general that we are fit to survive and capable of shaping our own destiny.”

Maybe this proves that once past truths are forgotten, and the myths that are lies are born with an unfounded reality detrimental to all, but those who seek to benefit. As I have often said, “I firmly believe education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair. We can change the world but first, we must change ourselves.” And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Twitter @JohnTWills

Source: Black Atlanta Star


In Memoriam: Remembering Those Who Transitioned In 2016

thLooking back at the year that was and remembering the long list of people that were famous, known nationally, and recognized; 2016 saw the deaths of an unusually long list of political titans and sports icons, famous musicians and Hollywood greats. There was the boxer nicknamed The Greatest, the musician known as Prince, the revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.

– Muhammad Ali, the heavyweight boxing champion who transformed himself into a global hero, died June 3 at 74. Ali, who fought a high-profile battle with Parkinson’s disease, died of septic shock.

– George Michael musician, front man for the group Wham.

– Natalie Cole, musician, daughter of the great Nat King Cole.

– Maurice White, songwriter, producer and founder of Earth, Wind, and Fire.

– The death of Fidel Castro, the cigar-chomping despot who ruled Communist Cuba for nearly half a century, sent shock waves around the world. Castro died Nov. 25 at 90.

– Prince, the 57-year-old singer, songwriter, hit maker was found dead in his Paisley Park, Minn., home on April 21.

– David Bowie, the British rocker whose sound and style defied categorization, died Jan. 10 after a secret battle with cancer. He was 69.

– John Glenn, who in 1962 was the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth, and senator for 24 years, was 95.

– Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez died Sept. 25 when his speedboat slammed into a jetty near South Beach.

– Former First Lady Nancy Reagan died March 6 of congestive heart failure. She was 94.

– Janet Reno, the first woman to serve as U.S. attorney general, died Nov. 7 at age 78.

– Arnold Palmer, the gentleman golfer hailed as the King, died Sept. 25 at age 87.

– Gordie Howe, the 23-time NHL All-Star known as Mr. Hockey, died June 10 at 88.

– Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead at a Texas resort on Feb. 13.

– Former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating with the Palestinians, died Sept. 28 at 93.

– Keith Emerson, the keyboardist who founded Emerson, Lake and Palmer, died March 11.

– Greg Lake, 69, who was also a founding member of King Crimson, died Dec. 7.

– Actor Alan Thicke, 69, who played the father in the ’80s sitcom “Growing Pains,” died Dec. 13

– Florence Henderson, best known as quintessential TV mom Carol Brady in “The Brady Bunch,” died Nov. 24. She was 82.

– Comedian Garry Shandling died March 24, apparently of a heart attack. He was 66.

– Gene Wilder, whose four-decade acting career included unforgettable comic roles in “Blazing Saddles” and “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” was 83 when he died Aug. 29.

– Patty Duke, who won an Oscar for “The Miracle Worker” and later played “identical cousins” on her own TV show, died March 29 at 69.

– Edward Albee, the playwright who penned “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” died Sept. 16 at age 88.

– Harper Lee, an author who shunned the spotlight and who penned “To Kill a Mockingbird,” died in her sleep Feb. 19 at age 89.

– Joe Garagiola, the baseball catcher and colorful TV announcer, died March 23 at 90.

– John McLaughlin, the political commentator and prickly host of TV’s “The McLaughlin Group,” died Aug. 16 at 89.

– Abe Vigoda, best known for playing mob capo Sal Tessio in “The Godfather” and as Detective Fish on “Barney Miller,” died Jan. 26 at 94.

– George Kennedy, who co-starred in “Cool Hand Luke,” “Airport” and “Naked Gun,” died Feb. 28 at 91.

– Garry Marshall, creator of TV’s “Happy Days” and “The Odd Couple,” died July 19 at 81.

– Robert Vaughn, who played a spy in the cult ’60s series “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” died Nov. 11 at age 83.

– Doris Roberts, a five-time Emmy-winner best known as the grandmother on TV’s “Everybody Loves Raymond,” died April 17 at 90.

– Ron Glass, the 71-year-old actor best known for his role in the TV sitcom “Barney Miller,” died Nov. 25.

– Phyllis Schlafly, an activist who fueled modern social conservativism by denouncing feminism, died Sept. 5 at 92.

– Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

– Tom Hayden, the 1960s radical who was once married to Jane Fonda, died Oct. 23 at 76.

– Kenny Baker, the diminutive 81-year-old British actor who played the droid R2-D2 in six “Star Wars” films, died Aug. 13 after a long illness.

– Leonard Cohen, the legendary singer-songwriter, died Nov. 7 at 82.

– Singer Maurice White, songwriter, producer, and founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, died Feb. 3 at 74.

– Merle Haggard Country music outlaw died April 6 on his 79th birthday.

– Malik Taylor, the rapper with A Tribe Called Quest known as Phife Dawg, died March 22 due to complications from diabetes. He was 45.

– Glenn Frey, the rocker who co-founded the Eagles, died Jan. 18 at 67.

– Sharon Jones, lead singer of the Dap-Kings, died Nov. 18 at age 60.

– Attrell Cordes, known as Prince Be of the ’90s R&B duo P.M. Dawn, died June 17. He was 46.

– Pat Summitt, the former coach of the University of Tennessee’s Lady Volunteers who notched the most wins in NCAA basketball history, died June 28. She was 64.

– Craig Sager, the NBA sideline reporter known as much for his outrageous suits as his deep knowledge of the game, died Dec. 15. He was 65.

– ESPN broadcaster John Saunders, 61, passed away Aug. 10 after his wife found him unresponsive at their Westchester County home.

– Morley Safer, CBS journalist who filed more than 900 reports for “60 Minutes,” died May 19. He was 84.

– Gwen Ifill, the pioneering journalist who died Nov. 14. The 61-year-old co-anchor of “The PBS NewsHour”.

– Rob Ford, the ex-Toronto mayor died March 22 at 46.

– Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, who died July 2 at 87.

– Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Egyptian statesman who became the United Nations’ sixth secretary general in the early 1990s, died Feb. 16. He was 93.

– Henry Heimlich, the surgeon who created the eponymous anti-choking technique, died Dec. 17 at 96.

– Alan Rickman, 69, the British actor, “Die Hard” and the Harry Potter movies, died Jan. 14

– Anton Yelchin, best known for playing a young Chekov in the reboot “Star Trek” films, died on June 19. He was 27.

– Zsa Zsa Gabor, a Hungarian model-turned-Hollywood socialite whose turbulent romances titillated the public long before the rise of celebrity reality shows, died Dec. 18 of a heart attack. Gabor, who wed nine times, was 99.

It was not my intention to leave out the many unarmed black men, women, and children for these horrible killings are far too many to list (shame); may they all rest in peace. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Farewell Champ! We Will Never Forget Your Legacy

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It only happens once in a lifetime. The world is so thankful  for your courage, wisdom, and greatness! Rest forever in peace Champ!


We Cannot Let Them Whitewash Muhammad Ali’s Legacy

220It was truly wonderful to see the well-deserved glowing and endearing remembrances of the Champ. It is very clear to me and most of the world that Ali is the “Greatest of All Times. This post is meant to remind you that at one point in Ali’s life, he was the most hated man in America for his resistance to the war. I say this to say, look what they did to Dr. King’s legacy and others; they made them tamed and in the case of Dr. King; they would have you think he only had a dream. History is full of such acts after the person is gone.

So before it is too late, let’s get one thing straight: Muhammad Ali was a revolutionary black man, unapologetic and proud of it. He opposed the Vietnam War at a time when it was so unpopular and career-threatening to do so. He proposed reparations by another name, saying in the 1960s that the U.S. government should take $25 billion meant for the Vietnam War and instead use it to build black Americans homes in the South. Ali was so politically radical that Jackie Robinson once called him a “tragedy,” and the Nation of Islam eventually distanced itself from him.

In the 20th century, former Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee chairman Stokely Carmichael said “the FBI viewed Ali as more of a threat” than himself. In the 21st, it was revealed that the NSA had wire tapped his conversations and still Ali never relented in his convictions. He was black until death, first and foremost. Ali was very clear; “I was determined to be one nigger that the white man didn’t get”. He also said, “Go on and join something. If it isn’t the Muslims, at least join the Black Panthers. Join something.”

Ali didn’t transcend race because he didn’t want to – sellout was not part of his spirit. History indicates we’ll forget all that, and one day after his death, there are clear signs that white folks are already trying to use the tactics of the authors of His-Story to whitewash Muhammad’s legacy. We should not let this happen – never. This was the most real black man who ever lived in America, except maybe since Nat Turner. We really shouldn’t let them do this to Ali’s legacy.

Depending on what you think of businessmen, either willfully ignorant or shamelessly cynical, requiring the sort of unique disregard for their past bad acts. How they tried to destroy Muhammad throughout his life by not allowing him to practice his craft or the sentiments so disturbing that it actually wasn’t out of line at all to them. It is what they did to every forward-thinking black man or group in America during that period. It was and is right in line with a long-running tradition in U.S. history: whitewashing the radicalism of black Americans.

Throughout American history, white Americans have toned down the life stories of radical people of color so that they can celebrate them as they want them to be, not as they were. Ali did not allow them to do this when he was alive, and it is our duty not to let them do it to his legacy now that he is not here to fight for it himself. It is why when we think of “I Have A Dream” we hear the name Martin Luther King Jr. and not his opposition to the Vietnam War. Narratives are altered. Complex people simplified. Revolutionary ideas watered down, wrapped and packaged with a bow for mainstream America. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


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